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1 Frequently Asked Questions

Why should we learn HTML at all, when we can just use an editor and make a web page ?
There are HTML editors available out there that will practically  make your page for you and we have nothing against them, however, we won't be using any of them for this class!

Why??   If you don't know anything about HTML, using these programs can often be very confusing. If you have no idea what each tag means or does, it is difficult to use it correctly or determine which tag you will need to create which effect. Learning the basics of HTML yourself also gives you a flexibility that editors often don't allow -- HTML standards change, extensions are added etc. Unless you have the newest version of the HTML editor, you may not be able to take advantage of these things easily.  Because this is a beginning class to teach you to "hand code" your HTML and learn all of the different tags, we will not answer questions about the many HTML Editors on the market nor will we grade web pages that have been made with an Editor.

So, how are we going to learn HTML if not by using one of the available HTML editors?
As was outlined in Lesson 1 Part 1, Creating the Template, and in The Four Most Important Tags, web pages will be created using a basic text editing program such as Notepad (Windows) or SimpleText (MAC). Notepad is part of Windows -- both 3.1 and Windows95+. Look for it under "Accessories". SimpleText is the basic text editing program that comes with MACs You'll find it in the MAC Supplement under Part 2 of the Lesson.

Can I use a full-featured word processor to create web pages?
We advise using a "text editing" program such as NotePad or SimpleText. They are simple to use and won't add strange letters and characters into your document. In the past, students that have used a word processing program for editing have had bad experiences with portions of their pages being duplicated without any discernible cause. These effects are the remnants of the special formatting built into the more complex word processing programs and are avoided when the simpler text editors are used.

Is it cheating to use an HTML editing program to create my web page?
This class is to teach you how to "hand code" your page. While it is strongly recommended that you become familiar with the writing of HTML "from scratch", it is possible  to absorb the ideas, concepts and information presented in the class while working in an HTML editor. If you choose to use one however, you are not only going to be learning HTML but also trying to figure out how to work the HTML editing program on your own. The instructors will assist you in learning basic HTML but support will not be provided for learning the ins and outs of HTML editing programs, questions about coding or reviewing your web page!

Some web pages use a ".htm" suffix and some use a ".html" suffix. Is there any difference?
On the web, pages which end in .htm or .html work exactly the same and are read the same way by browsers. The reason for the difference, is the inability of certain operating systems, such as Windows 3.1, to accept more than a three-letter extension or suffix to a file. Therefore, a web page can have EITHER suffix without affecting how it is read. There is one situation of which you should be aware. Some ISP's and/or web servers "require" that you use the .html extension for your files. If the place where you are putting your pages requires it, you will have to change or rename the names of your documents to have them be accessible on the web.

Why do some sites start with http:// and others https://  ?
https:// is used on "secure" pages for web sites that are selling something. If you are buying from the Internet, don't give out any private information or credit card numbers unless the URL starts with https://

What version of HTML does this class cover?
Once you start looking at web pages you will find out that there is more than one "version" of HTML. This is because HTML is a living entity. It is growing and progressing all the time. Therefore, there is no simple answer to the question, except maybe this class presents a blending of HTML versions. MOST  of what is contained in the class is still basic HTML 3.2. There are some tags that are not part of this standard. In the class, we will do our best to explain this as we go along and point out which tags are outside of the standard. In 1998, a new standard of HTML 4.0 was introduced. Since then, more tags have been added and we now refer to it as HTML 4.x as it continues to constantly change. During this class we will try to cover some of the changes to HTML which came about with the adoption of HTML 4.x.

How can we tell what our page will look like before putting it on the web for others to see?
Since HTML files are read by the browser, you will use your web browser to view how your web pages look before sending them to the web. From the File menu of your browser, you may choose Open File. Then browse or search for the directory/folder on your hard drive or disk and select your HTML file to open it in your browser window. Depending on your browser version, you might find the options to do this under File/Open or File/Open Page and then select Browse or Choose File to find the file you want to view.

When you make changes in your file, you will need to RELOAD or REFRESH your page from the browser menu to view them. It is very important that you do not include spaces in the filenames you select for your web pages.

While you might be able to view the file on your computer in your browser, later on in the class, when you upload them to your server, this will create problems and visitors will not be able to access your pages.

Where can we build a "Home on the Web"?
Many Internet Service Providers give subscribers free web space; you should check to see if your provider is one that does offer space. If not, never fear. We offer a list of resources on the web which offer free space for web pages and you should be able to choose your web space for personal use. It is recommended that wherever you stake your web claim that you have the ability to FTP.   FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is a way of transferring your completed web pages, pictures etc. from your computer to the web for others to see. Many other places which offer free space do not allow FTPing files. Please be sure to read the "agreement" regarding use of the space at the location you choose to see what is and is not allowed.

Can I make a web page if I have WebTV/Internet TV?
Yes!   You can create a web page with WebTV. The main difference is that you will not be able to save your pages on your computer and upload them to the web. You will need to get some web page space at a place which allows you to create and edit your web pages online. Geocities and Tripod both have features where you can do this. For specific WebTV design considerations check the MSN TV Server Developer Support Site http://developer.msntv.com/ for key differences. You also might want to check WEBTV TIPS AND TRICKS http://members.tripod.com/~foodrelief/webtv-3.htm created by Christopher during a summer VU class for WebTV users with tips, tricks and resource links.

Are there any problems creating a web page at AOL?
Luckily Debbie L has joined the HTML 1 Instructor Team and can provide assistance for AOL users. (Most of the HTML questions will be the same as everyone else's.) During a prior semester, she graciously wrote up this easy to use guide for AOL users and Instructor Otter made it into a web site for AOL HELP AND RESOURCES

Search the archives at TechTV | Call For Help > AOL Help Archive http://www.techtv.com/callforhelp/aol/archive/ for AOL help. If there are a lot of AOL users in class who are experiencing problems, it may be useful for them to form a special study group. If you want to coordinate such a group, post the information on the class Bulletin Board so that others can contact you.

Do we have to "study" all the resources suggested?
No, not at all - you won't be tested on the information! In fact, we only listed a few of the thousands of tutorials and help sites that are on-line. A lot of them link together and once you start reading one you'll find yourself reading for hours as you absorb the knowledge and learn new techniques. Study any, all, or none at your own discretion. A variety of selections are presented in order for individuals to select a source that they prefer. You can "pass" the class by studying only the lessons and completing the assignments. You will get MUCH more out of the class however if you strike out on your own and teach yourself!

How do we save the lessons for future reference?
Directions to use the Save As feature of your browser to save the lessons as an HTML file to open in your browser later are given in the Introduction to the class. Or, some students prefer to print out a hard copy of the lessons.

Continue on to:
Lesson 1 Part 4:  Online Resources, Books, Free Web Space
Lesson 1 Part 5:  MAC Supplement -- Creating a First Web Page

Return to:
Introduction and Class Syllabus
Lesson 1 Part 1:  Creating Your First Web Page
Lesson 1 Part 2:  Creating Your First Web Page (2)

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